THE PUBLIC EYE: Conservative Brain Syndrome

By Bob Burnett
Thursday May 10, 2012 - 12:22:00 PM

Tragic news about the premature decline and death of retired football players has led many Americans to draw the obvious conclusion: decades spent bashing people with your skull will produce serious brain injury. Considering this, why don’t Republicans understand that years spent bashing their heads against reality inevitably produces the same result: diminished capacity and dementia? -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: What Do Female Cowbirds Want?

By Joe Eaton
Friday May 11, 2012 - 02:13:00 PM

A few weeks ago Ron and I were having lunch with some friends in the California Academy of Sciences’ quasi-outdoor snack area, which is cheaper and has a significantly lower decibel level than the indoor food court. As is not unusual in al fresco cafes in San Francisco, we were surrounded by Brewer’s blackbirds waiting for a crumb to drop. There was also a male brown-headed cowbird, who seemed more interested in attracting a mate than grabbing a bite. He walked around, and sometimes under, our table, spreading his wings and singing: a kind of musical gurgle which has been verbalized as “glug glug glee” and “bublowcomseeee.” Alas, no female cowbirds showed up, and the blackbirds ignored him. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: To Disclose or Not to Disclose

By Jack Bragen
Friday May 11, 2012 - 07:49:00 PM

A man wrote in who wanted an opinion applicable to someone he had dealt with who had not disclosed their psychiatric disability. His question pertained to employment and other business dealings. The reader wondered about the disclosure of a disability, and being up front from the beginning, versus concealing a psychiatric condition. I believe that it is a significant question that most people with a psychiatric disability must face. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Gerontology 101: Now Hear This

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday May 11, 2012 - 12:49:00 PM

Recommended reading, available online:

"Hearing loss linked to 3-fold risk of falling." American Association for the Advancement of Science, Feb. 27, 2012.

“Hearing loss a hidden -- and correctable -- problem for seniors” by Anita Creamer. Sacramento Bee, April 16, 2012.

Evelyn Glennie’s Hearing essay, 1993. Glennie is a 47-year old Scottish virtuoso percussionist, the first full-time solo percussionist in 20th-century western society. She has been profoundly deaf since age 12. -more-